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  #1  
Old 09-05-2019, 6:27 PM
bajajoaquin bajajoaquin is offline
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Default Easiest-shooting 9mm/.38 Dia Handgun

Iíve been looking into handguns lately and want something that is really easy shooting. Iíve thought about the Bersa .380, but people say the blowback action is snappy. Sig has the P238 with a locked breech, but it seems small and a small sight radius. Small 9mm pistols get good reviews but I donít know how soft the recoil is in those.

The end goal is to have something that my wife (who is afraid of guns) night enjoy shooting and could be considered a reasonable self protection round. I think that means .380 or 9mm, but .38 special might be in the mix, too.

It should have:

Good reliability
Low recoil impulse
Easy to hold with all your fingers
Be CA compliant or readily available on the used market
Fun to shoot with a minimum of intimidation
Carryable, but not super-compact-concealable

I think Springfield has a locked breech .380 that would be perfect, but itís not on rroster. The Bersa seems to get god reviews, but again, the impulse gets criticism. The thread about the Bersa versus Shield didnít cover the softness Iíd like.

Thoughts?
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  #2  
Old 09-05-2019, 6:29 PM
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A 4” .38 spcl or .357 with .38’s will work. Wife and grown daughter prefer them for HD.
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  #3  
Old 09-05-2019, 6:39 PM
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Browning high-power for the 9mm.
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  #4  
Old 09-05-2019, 6:42 PM
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I second a 4" revolver, although they are large for concealed carry. I suggest a used S&W model 10, 13, 15, or the counterparts in stainless. I've got a 4" model 13 and 4" model 15 that my recoil-adverse wife loves to shoot. I load up some 148g wadcutter loads and she enjoys the heck out of those, which also gives her the confidence to shoot +P defensive rounds. I tried her on magnum loads in the 13 and she didn't like those at all.

I'd also look at a .22 revolver which has very little recoil. While not ideal for SD they are better than a gun she is afraid to use. Steer away from snubnose revolvers as they are difficult to learn to shoot.
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Old 09-05-2019, 6:43 PM
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Do you reload? Min loads in 9mm have no recoil, feels like a .22lr. Any gun with sufficient aftermarket to change out springs would work.
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  #6  
Old 09-05-2019, 6:45 PM
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A lot of .380s are "snappy" as are the small sub compact 9's. Given that carry is a requirement, I'd look at the following...

A 4" 1911 in 9mm

Sig P226

Beretta 92 Compact maybe

A "Roland Special" - A comp'd Glock 19
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Old 09-05-2019, 6:55 PM
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I absolutely love my P238, off roster version. I've wanted a P938, but never got around to it. The P238 is probably my favorite handgun.
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Old 09-05-2019, 6:55 PM
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  #9  
Old 09-05-2019, 7:29 PM
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SA Loaded...9mm...
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  #10  
Old 09-05-2019, 7:29 PM
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On a sort of different note, is your wife afraid of ALL guns, or is she afraid of the recoil of a stout handgun, specifically?

If shes just plain afraid of shooting, a 22lr is a hell of a good start.
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Old 09-05-2019, 7:38 PM
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All guns. I already have .22 options, so I was looking for the next step up.
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  #12  
Old 09-05-2019, 7:41 PM
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CZ PCR 9mm, stay away from 380 blowbacks as it was mentioned above they kick like a mule.
I have the Sig P239 but prefer the CZ PCR as does my Daughter.
I bought my Daughter a Beretta 84 cause it was pretty, She did not like it, kicks a bit much, as does my Sig P232, and CZ 83 of course these are 380 blowbacks and the beretta is no longer on the California roster.

So my recomendation is the CZ PCR, it is lighter than the regular CZ 75 and other variants because they use an alloy frame.



Many choices out there , good luck on your quest.

Last edited by eternoplacer; 09-05-2019 at 7:51 PM..
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  #13  
Old 09-05-2019, 7:48 PM
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The softest shooting 38 spl that is easy to shoot well is a S&W Model 52.

It's a semi auto that only shoots wadcutters.
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  #14  
Old 09-05-2019, 7:48 PM
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Hearing people talk about Bersa 380 and S&W 9mm kicking to much is weird to me, but I guess if they do maybe try finding something in 32.
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Old 09-05-2019, 7:49 PM
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I'm in the 38 special camp and using wadcutters. Everybody loves those when they shoot'em.
Get a 3" or 4" barrel revolver and fit some good stocks as needed.
*I had really good test results with Hornady critical defense 38 specials, no +P in a 38/3" carry gun.

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  #16  
Old 09-05-2019, 8:01 PM
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Less Polymer-plastic more steel gets you less recoil, that would mean Beretta 92FS and its very accurate. Well made gun used by Nato, LEO, and others.
Cant loose.
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  #17  
Old 09-05-2019, 8:03 PM
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Yeah, .38 Wadcutters in a 4" revolver works well.

But...
If you want something really fun and "ladies sized" a Colt Government .380 with steel frame is a sweet and easy shooter while having a decent round.
The locked breech design gets rid of the .380 blowback snap and since a stiff spring is not needed to keep the breech closed, the Government slide racks easy.
Our wives used to shoot the Mustang Pocketlites too, but the heavier larger longer barreled Government really was a great gun.
Sadly they are off roster and pricey.
But similar guns were made by Iver Johnson, Llama, Star and others, when found the prices are usually pretty low.
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  #18  
Old 09-05-2019, 8:11 PM
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sig p239. doesn't bite, have good weight and not too small to carry.
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  #19  
Old 09-05-2019, 8:11 PM
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CZ SP-01 and 75b are both nice steel-framed soft shooters. Not really carryable--but enjoyable to shoot.

It's sometimes difficult to find a single gun to do everything: softer shooter to entice people to go to the range more, or something concealable for carry.

They often can't be the same thing--a range pistol is heavier, frame absorbs the recoil. My wife enjoys shooting her 686 SSR for that very reason--it soaks up the recoil.

We tried shooting a compact j-frame revolver: my parents gave me their S&W 38spl snubbie compact revolver. Thing snapped and stung your hands shooting--total turn off--ended up giving it right back lol. But it could fit in your pocket.

TL;DR maybe pick the firearm she will enjoy shooting first--get her skills up. Then look into a carry pistol/revolver.
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  #20  
Old 09-05-2019, 8:13 PM
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You should really check out a Sig p239. Size is compact enough for carry. It's on the heavy side, but that helps with recoil. Very thin and comfortable for small hands with stock grips. WIth hogue rubber grips, easy to grip for larger hands. Soft shooter in .40 and .357 Sig, in 9mm it's about as light as you can get unless you want to go to a full size.
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  #21  
Old 09-05-2019, 8:16 PM
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.38 revolver with 4" barrel. Start with soft target loads and stay away from +p.

If you go with a semi, choose steel and make sure it fits her hands. I see people recommend doublestack guns all the time, but they never take into consideration that it might not fit a lady's hands as opposed to a singlestack.
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  #22  
Old 09-05-2019, 8:22 PM
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My wifeís Walther PPK and G42 are very soft shooting but both off roster unfortunately, but can be had in the marketplace here. The G42 feels like a .22 compared to my 9mm G26. I would call around and go to a range that has some .380 to rent to try out.
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Old 09-05-2019, 8:26 PM
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If recoil in 380 and 9mm is too much, they may not have strength to rack slide on one that the recoil won't be too much.
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Old 09-05-2019, 8:37 PM
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9mm ammo is less expensive yet more powerful than .380 ammo. My 76 year old mother shoots a 9mm Sig 239. My carry gun is a CZ 75 Compact 9mm with a heavy all steel frame. Metal framed compact guns will be heavier, but less recoil and easier to grip and easier to shoot compared to polymer framed subcompact guns. She should try holding various guns to see what fits - keeping in mind also that you can often buy thinner, fatter, or smoother or stickier grips for major brands of guns. Sigs have good triggers, which makes it easier to shoot accurately, which translates to more fun.
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Old 09-05-2019, 8:38 PM
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1911 in 9mm
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  #26  
Old 09-05-2019, 9:08 PM
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SP101 with either a 3 inch or 4.2 inch barrel, with mild .38s. Semis can be hard to rack and hard to clear failures, and hard to remember safeties. Revolver is simple, point at bad guy, and keep squeezing trigger. That's all. Large enough to soak up recoil, but small enough for girly hands.

Last edited by Nick Adams; 09-05-2019 at 9:17 PM..
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Old 09-05-2019, 9:17 PM
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When people inquire about 'soft' shooting pistols, concerns about operating the slide on an semi auto always always always is soon to follow.

Smith & Weasal 4 inch K frame & .38 Special Wadcutters.
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Old 09-05-2019, 10:03 PM
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Colt Combat Commander (it is all steel, low recoil) in 9mm if it must be sort of easy to conceal. Otherwise, a full size 9mm 1911
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Old 09-05-2019, 10:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bajajoaquin View Post
Iíve been looking into handguns lately and want something that is really easy shooting. Iíve thought about the Bersa .380, but people say the blowback action is snappy. Sig has the P238 with a locked breech, but it seems small and a small sight radius. Small 9mm pistols get good reviews but I donít know how soft the recoil is in those.

The end goal is to have something that my wife (who is afraid of guns) night enjoy shooting and could be considered a reasonable self protection round. I think that means .380 or 9mm, but .38 special might be in the mix, too.

It should have:

Good reliability
Low recoil impulse
Easy to hold with all your fingers
Be CA compliant or readily available on the used market
Fun to shoot with a minimum of intimidation
Carryable, but not super-compact-concealable

I think Springfield has a locked breech .380 that would be perfect, but itís not on rroster. The Bersa seems to get god reviews, but again, the impulse gets criticism. The thread about the Bersa versus Shield didnít cover the softness Iíd like.

Thoughts?

Glock 42 all day. Youíre in luck Iím selling one too.
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Old 09-05-2019, 10:55 PM
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Allow me to suggest a site called genitron.com. It's a good resource to compare guns you're considering (most won't be on the CA roster, but...).

They have a box of "stats" including concealability and recoil factor. You'll notice right away that a .380 is typically about half the recoil of a 9... Keep in mind the rounds you're shooting will affect that, but it gives you a relative idea of what to expect.

Physics comes into play - the lighter the gun, the more recoil will be "felt" - things like grip wraps or replacement grips can make a difference here on the same gun.

Having gone on the "journey" to find a gun for my wife, I'll suggest you "shortcut" and get the Sig P238. I ignored it for a long time because it is so small (and a bit expensive...), but it practically defies physics, the recoil is pretty soft (my wife says feels like her SR22P), and it is pretty soft to shoot w/Hogue grips. The short sight radius may affect your accuracy, but after some dry firing practice, I was getting more than acceptable groups. Racking is VERY easy, again defying what you'd expect. Having a manual safety might reduce fears of accidental discharge, the CA model has Mag disconnect and LCI, things which "might" help your wife to feel safer around the gun. You'd have to try pretty hard to have a ND.

I have owned the Thunder/Firestorm Bersas, and still have a Thunder 380CC. No complaints with them, but they do have a bit more felt recoil. I shoot the CC with practically nonexistent sights REALLY well...

As for the afraid of guns issue, don't have an answer for ya... hopefully you can find something she enjoys shooting, and if not, enjoy your new P238 (or whatever you decide on!)

Last edited by DB>; 09-05-2019 at 10:58 PM..
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  #31  
Old 09-06-2019, 12:11 AM
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Hmm. I was going to suggest 'full-size' semiautos but you mentioned 'carryable'. I'm assuming IWB conceal carry? If so, have her try a Glock 19, Sig P229, CZ 75 Compact,etc. Something around those frame/barrel size in 9mm.

Perhaps join her in a private lesson to help her get more comfortable with handguns in general.
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Old 09-06-2019, 1:26 AM
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S&W 986
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  #33  
Old 09-06-2019, 4:08 AM
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Glock 19.
I own two and have shot various handguns from competition full size to subcompact.
Glock 19 is a middle ground for recoil. I also had 95 grain solid copper hollow tip hybrid rounds fiocchi sold for a while. The combo of a 19 and 95 grain cartridges makes a sweet range gun.
Since no one knows your age, experience, size, strength, etc. It really is hard to say.
Hell I hate shooting desert eagles and I'm no 5'4 scrawny punk lol.
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Old 09-06-2019, 9:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geedavell View Post
1911 in 9mm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Colt View Post
...Otherwise, a full size 9mm 1911
Now you're just talking about what I want to get for myself!

A lot of good info, thanks. The parts about steel and single-stack resonate. That's what led me to the Bersa. I'll also look at revolvers a bit more. Making me regret passing up a 686 a few years ago.

I'll keep looking in general.

To those who have PM'd me with specific pistols for sale, thank you. I'm just in the search phase. I'll go rent some, and see what friends have and try to put my hands on a few more. I was just looking for some thoughts to help me see what types of things I'd be looking for.
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Old 09-06-2019, 10:10 AM
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A quick observation from teaching a lot of women in basic NRA pistol classes.

Women are not only generally smaller, but their hand size can be so small that they cannot shoot a gun properly, so they either pull trigger to the right because they can only reach it with the outstretched tip, or they move the strong hand forward on the grip, getting all sorts of problems with recoil.

There was a woman who had hard time reaching trigger on a K-frame in single action.

Your wife absolutely has to be part of the decision if you want her to join you. She might not know which gun she likes without shooting it, but you can see which guns don't fit just by having her hold them. That will eliminate a lot of options that are suggested above.
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Old 09-06-2019, 10:13 AM
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Quote:
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.....

Your wife absolutely has to be part of the decision if you want her to join you. She might not know which gun she likes without shooting it, but you can see which guns don't fit just by having her hold them. That will eliminate a lot of options that are suggested above.
You know, that sounds obvious, but it's really good advice. Thank you.
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Old 09-06-2019, 10:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarmy View Post
SA Loaded...9mm...
Agreed, can be a bit fussy with mags and feeding at times but a weight/balance that is perfect to make the 9mm round fire like butter and with accuracy.
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Old 09-06-2019, 10:21 AM
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"Easiest shooting" would be a 9mm 1911. That would include "easiest to shoot well."

DA shooting with a revolver takes more practice to shoot well.

Hands down the nicest shooting 9mm DA/SA I've ever fired was a SIG 226.
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Old 09-06-2019, 10:27 AM
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I got my daughter started on 38sp out of a 357 Chiappa Rhino. That's a very soft shooter with 38sp. The handle fits her hand. And the operation of a revolver is very intuitive and easy to understand. No reciprocating parts. No ejected shells flying around. The DA trigger teaches good shooting fundamentals also.

Any revolver designed to shoot 357 is going to be smooth with 38sp because of the weight. That's also going to be effective as a self defense weapon even with 38sp. And 6 shots that can be shot accurately are better than 10 that can't be.
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Old 09-06-2019, 10:38 AM
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The Glock 19 was too big for my wife's hands so she got the XD 9 subcompact. She's quite small but the recoil of the XD doesn't bother her.
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